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The unquestionable role of Intelligent Automation in healthcare

22-Jul-2020 05:00:00 / by Keith Morley

Keith Morley

Intelligent Automation is more than a technological advance; it creates new opportunities to help unlock the power of healthcare for patients and professionals

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Healthcare is often one of the first sectors to be hit by global challenges. The advent of computer vision and document processing has accelerated the benefits of Intelligent Automation; cost efficiency, customer experience and freeing up resource for frontline care are the top priorities driving digital services in this sector.


Computer vision

Automatically identify components of forms, like the patient name field, the save button and even the radio and check boxes. 


Document processing

Easily find and extract data from lengthy and complex documents in short amounts of time.   



Everyday processes

Automate email process and tasks in Miscrosft excel, Outlook and Onedrive.                             


Altering our perception of value delivery can help us to realise the potential of Intelligent Automation to challenge and transform the care environment.  By shifting the burden from humans to bots, we enable highly trained healthcare specialists to focus on one-to-one patient care. This transforms the way that healthcare works, both in terms of operational functions, resource availability and patient experience. As Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence said, “AI is a tool.  The choice about how it gets deployed is ours.”

There are many use case for Intelligent Automation in healthcare, but I wish to focus on six specific ones here.

Enable procurement to manage huge increases in volumes

We live in a world that produces vast amount of data and Intelligent Automation can help us to process that data.  In the healthcare sector, large volumes of inventory requests need to be logged into a case management system. However, manual work often creates a bottleneck in the supply chain.  Bots can be used to integrate email systems with service management, so that these requests can be automated.  It is straightforward to deploy such a solution in just days using Agile and then to dedicate bots to catch up on existing requests. Bots can work around the clock to process 16,000+ orders in a day​, increasing organisations’ capacity to supply life-saving equipment.

Speed up access to test results

The administrative work associated with using testing for patient diagnosis can take up to 50% of a healthcare professionals’ time.  Processes are usually cumbersome and were designed for previous infection, so are not flexible or responsive to evolving situations.  Bots can log into a system and complete the process steps automatically, so that information is processed in a fraction of the time.  Typically, this can save 2-3 hours a day and up to 18 hours a week.  Automation also makes data available in real-time, improves employee experience and accelerates operational efficiency.

Maintain quick communication with patients and customers

Healthcare contact centres and other communication struggle to cope with high volumes of incoming calls and inquiries.  Patients are often seeking care as well as basic healthcare information that requires manual access across several systems.  Bots and chatbots can parse through data in multiple systems and intelligently extract targeted information.  They can then collate emails and send them to millions of customers and patients.  This supports healthcare organisations, enabling them to provide quick patient care, deliver essential information, reduce the volume of enquiries and lessen the pressure on their workforce.

Help HR process and onboard new healthcare professionals

Pre-employment screening can be time-consuming.  Thousands of applications need to be sorted to support expansive organisations.  Bots can be trained to run background checks, automatically notify HR when an applicant is ready to be on-boarded and assign applicants to suitable jobs.  This can reduce manual data input by 35%, improve record accuracy and decrease the time to process applicants from days to hours.

Tracking employee heath

Due to the recent crisis, close monitoring of the health status of the medical staff is needed. Healthcare organisations need to track symptoms, disease stages for infected staff, as well as keep track of the healthy employee.  Reports need to be updated in real-time and must not add to the strain of the staff who are already working tirelessly.  Bots can log details about employees who have been infected, the ones that need quarantine, and the ones that continue in good health.  This drives efficient distribution of resources and provides timely help for both the medical staff and patients.

Improve patient appointment scheduling

Patients create appointments with their doctors on a regular basis but sometimes have to cancel them.  Appointment cancellation and no-shows can be costly.  Intelligent Automation can be used to minimize the involvement of human employees in the scheduling process, integrate with existing systems and can to optimize appointment turnout by managing appointments with patients.

Ethics compliance and fairness

As Intelligent Automation pushes the boundaries of healthcare delivery, we’re going to see more innovations that enable doctors to spend more time with their patients.  By working around the clock, eliminating errors and reducing costs by 40-60%, bots will transform healthcare now and in the future.

For example, X-Ray analysis can assist in rapid diagnoses of pneumonia.  Deep learning can overcome complex processes for the diagnosis of patients with pneumonia and reduce the time to treatment.  Analysis of X-Ray image data using deep neural networks is an easily deployable model with integration capabilities and can prepare an initial categorisation of the likelihood of pneumonia.  This is a scalable, high-speed solution that allows diagnoses of patients in real time without a heavy technology lift.

Whilst these developments open up new possibilities, we also need to keep our eye on the ethics—safeguarding patient data, ensuring compliance and meeting statutory obligations is going to be absolutely key to making Intelligent Automation work in the healthcare sector.

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Topics: Healthcare, Public Sector, Machine Learning, UK Public Sector, AI, ethics

Keith Morley

Written by Keith Morley

Keith Morley is a Senior Architect at Mastek. He has 35 years’ experience and has always been at the forefront of the potential of Intelligent Automation, developing an “RPA” toolkit before RPA was invented. He provides consultancy on architecture and services and works with clients to drive intelligent automation and hyperautomation.

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